How to get rid of Spyware and Adware

Quick Link to the instructions
this page was last updated on 10/11/2005

If your computer is getting slower and slower or popup windows keep appearing, then this is usually a typical sign of some kind of malware that has infected your computer.

Malware, in short, is anything that is not supposed to be on your computer and usually has negative side effects. The three common types of malware are viruses, spyware and adware.

Why is spyware and adware such a problem?
Because they are often not detected by anti-virus software.

Thankfully you don't have to buy yet more programs to fight this threat - there are free programs out there that you can use. Just also be aware that there are people who will abuse that and create "free" software that supposedly helps but in fact is bad software itself! Be very careful with anything that's "free" - most of the time you will find the strings attached a lot later when it is too late. Also advise your children to never trust any ad promising free stuff. As long as your kids stay on sites that you know are respectable (e.g. sites that belong to known children TV channels), you should be fine.

Note: The programs mentioned on this page are free for personal use only. If you want to use them in your company, please follow the buying instructions on their websites.

The programs I want to explain here are called Ad-Aware, Spybot Search & Destroy and SpywareBlaster.

Ad-Aware can be found on, there find the heading Mirror Sites on the right. Click the button link and then Download Now on the new window that should open up. The name of the file you are about to download should be something like aawsepersonal.exe.

Spybot Search & Destroy can be found on where you find the download link on the left and follow the next page down to Spybot Search & Destroy which opens a window with multiple download links for it. If one doesn't work, try another (one that usually works but doesn't always show is The file name should be something like spybotsd14.exe.

SpywareBlaster can be found on where you can just keep clicking on the download buttons until you get it. The file name should be something like spywareblastersetup34.exe.

With all programs you can just follow the installing routine by clicking the NEXT and OK buttons and keeping the default values.


The instructions for these programs can be found on the following links. Note that they include pictures of the screens you will encounter, so the page might take a bit to download depending on the kind of internet connection you have (Dial-Up is slower than DSL, Cable or other Broadband), so please be patient.

The quick instructions are a short walkthrough while the detailed instructions explain what you are seeing and more. I recommend reading the detailed version for each program once, but if you want to get right to work, the quick version is for you, but you will lose some explanations and possible problems that you might encounter.

Ad-Aware and Spybot Search & Destroy are programs you actively run about once a week and after intensive internet use to see if you have caught any bad software. Spybot Search & Destroy also includes some protection that constantly runs in the background. SpywareBlaster only does that: It tries to block known threats, and you only run it about once a week to check for updates.

Ad-Aware: Quick instructions or detailed instructions

Spybot Search & Destroy: Quick instructions or detailed instructions

Hint: You can have both programs scan at the same time to save time.

We recommend running both programs at least once every week or every other week, depending on how much you use your internet browser.

Why do we need both programs? There are many threats that one program will miss, but the other one will find it. You can usually keep multiple spyware and adware scanners installed at the same time. With virus scanners this is more difficult since they will interfere with each other once a virus is found (each program will try to clean it and not give up permission to do so to the other program).

Additional recommendations:


Sites with information: